This innovative idea of helping kids drive themselves to the operating room is working wonders. Kids are less anxious and stressed before going in for a surgery.
Going in for surgery can be scary no matter how old you are and how critical or not the operation might be. Children are a lot more nervous while going in for surgery because they generally do not fully understand what is going on and this uncertainty increases their stress level. To alleviate this, a hospital in California came up with the best way to tackle these fears in children. The hospital staff provides the children with miniature cars for them to drive to the surgery room in order to help them feel less anxious. Staff at Doctors Medical Center in Modesto, California, recently bought a miniature pink Volkswagen Beetle and a black Mercedes for their young patients. As reported by People, the staff says that they can see the children's "stress and anxiety" disappear when they get behind the wheel.
In a statement, the hospital said, "These sweet rides take our smallest patients to the operating room. The goal is to reduce anxiety and stress, and make the experience less scary for everyone involved." This innovative idea is the brainchild of pre-op nurse Kimberly Martinez. While doing some research work, Martinez found that cars have a long-lasting impact on children and make driving them makes the kids happy. The hospital further explained that the idea has been a success so far.
Kids drive mini cars into surgery to reduce 'stress and anxiety' at California hospital https://t.co/w1xjVY0bfs— fox8news (@fox8news) April 6, 2019
The hospital added, "When the children find out they can go into the operating room riding in a cool little car, they light up, and in most cases, their fears melt away. In addition, when parents see their children put at ease, it puts them at ease as well." While the hospital purchased the black Mercedes car, an employee and her family donated a pink Volkswagen to the hospital when they learned about this initiative.
The cars aren't just easy to drive around in and look cute but are fully equipped. Both the one-seater cars come with a stereo, a collection of preloaded music, and an MP3 player which can be operated by the children or by using a remote control. The cars even have working headlights, doors that open, and even back up and dashboard lights. This way the children are made to be excited by driving the cars into the operating room. They are so preoccupied with the car that they forget about the surgery itself.
Smart idea. Lovingly sensitive.— martyrabkin (@martyrabkin) April 2, 2019
"It can be traumatizing for a young patient to be peeled away from their parents as they head into surgery. This truly helps everyone," the hospital said. Martinez told the CBS News that the difference in the emotions they are dealing with is almost immediate. Ever since they have introduced these mini cars in the hospital, the kids who have gone in for surgery seem to be a lot calmer and less afraid of what is to come. Martinez further mentioned that the cars were made especially for kids between the ages 2-7.
Children at this hospital ride mini cars to the operating room to reduce anxiety 🚗😀 pic.twitter.com/yXzezr5dA8— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) March 28, 2019
Going into surgery is stressful and most adults try and deal with it, but children, on the other hand, may not be equipped enough to deal with the fears of an operation theatre. Especially children below the age of seven. They may not even know why exactly they are in the hospital and what the outcome of the surgery is going to be. Thanks to this initiative, it not only helps the children but also the parents and the other family members around as well. Just seeing the kids so happy helps reduce the parents' stress.
Most people have appreciated the hospital for their efforts in trying to reduce anxiety and stress in children. Here are some of the thoughts that they have shared on social media.
Very nice and therapeutic.— Tom Galloway (@tomgalloway83) April 5, 2019
Cddft DMH were doing this 25 years ago when my chilldren were little. #kidslovedit— Alison Callaway (@AlisonCallaway) April 6, 2019
When my son had surgery at the Cleveland clinic when he was 3, the surgeon himself pushed him around right before surgery. I have been forever amazed and grateful for how they treated him— Thera parks (@momparks5) April 7, 2019